Is Nutrient Deficiency Really Diet Related?
I have a concern over a much debated topic, that has been perpetually run through the mill and will probably never stop.
That's right, you guessed it: Vegetarianism/Veganism and Deficiency! I have some pretty strong and probably opinionated views on the subject myself. I have even written a piece on it in my personal blog.
I have pretty much concluded that all nutrients can be easily obtained through a balanced diet anywhere between omnivorous to vegan.
However, when vegans make up about 2% of the entire population, how is it possible for any deficiency amongst that percentage to be equated with deficiency amongst the general population and concluded to be diet related?
Especially when certain unrelated factors exist, like women in general who have iron deficiency regularly traced back to menstruation reasons. Or a new focus: B12, it's heavily focused on amongst vegans with a few isolated studies wich I feel were not all encompassing. B12 deficiency is said to be common amongst vegans, anemics, people with mental illness and/or depression. It needs to be present in the blood to transport oxygen, which I figure personally as a lifelong asthmatic may very well be a risk for me; though, doctors have not found B12 deficiency in my blood and I have been a lifelong asthmatic and a vegan for 17 years.
I am also one who is against what I call "secondhand nutrition" ie. supplements. I feel that there is no better way to get nutrients than actual food and one would spend the same amount of time and less money (with less stress on the body as a whole) eating the actual source of the nutrient.
Furthermore, I think the deficiency scare is harmful in many ways. For one, it drives would-be lifelong vegetarians/vegans from their diet for fear some symptoms be it physical changes like weight, fatigue or a warning from a doctor (who are typically inadequately educated in nutrition) that whatever they are suffering from is via their veg diet and not typical poor habits such as smoking, drinking or high stress lifestyles, simply because the veg diet is more "alarming" than the aforementioned.
But, do you personally as a nutritionist, vegan and someone who is very informed on current vegan issues think that my thoughts are rational or maybe I'm missing something? I'd love to know. Thanks:)